A lot goes into making sure our Country Stores are always stocked with unique items, and we’re thankful for the team that makes it happen day-after-day, year-after-year.
We sat down with Jess Reedy, Kimball Farm’s Buyer & District Store Manager, to look back on her time with Kimball’s and talk about what makes the stores so special.
How long have you worked at Kimball Farm?
I’ve been working at Kimball Farm for about 15 years. My story is an example of how you can truly grow and create a career here!
I started in 2007 as part-time supervisor at the Arcade. I worked there for 2 seasons, and then started working at the Westford Country Store since it’s open year-round. Soon I was offered the position of Assistant Manager at the Lancaster Store, which had just opened. A few years later, I became Manager of the Lancaster Store. I watched, and listened, and learned from my General Manager and Grill Manager, and soon enough Peter Kimball (Owner) and Jill Curran (Director of Ice Cream Operations) approached me about taking over as Buyer and District Manager for all of Kimball’s Country Stores. Of course I said yes, and that’s the job I still do today!
Some people may wonder why I’ve stayed with one company for so long, especially doing something I didn’t go to college for… Well, a big reason is the work-life balance and flexibility that working for a family-run business has given me. I have 3 young children and am able to get them from school when they are sick, or leave early to see a soccer game. Sometimes I even bring my youngest in with me to do a few office things. The Kimball family has allowed me to make my family the center of my life, and in turn I am loyal to them, to our customers, and to my job. I am very thankful!
What do you love most about your job?
This is a hard one, because there are so many things!
I love setting up product displays, organizing shelves and spaces, and making the store visually appealing and inviting. I have always loved art, and the store and displays are like “art” to me!
I love meeting with reps and learning about new products that are a good fit for our stores.
I love working with each of the Store Managers and seeing the amazing things they do in their stores with the products I have chosen.
I think though, one of my most favorite things to do, is put together the Manager Holiday Baskets, which are gifts Kimball’s gives to its Managers each year. I choose what goes into them, and this is so special to me because I truly care about the people I work with. Our summer season is very busy and we all depend on each other to get through it and provide a great experience for our customers. So at the end of the year, as I put together each basket, I’m thinking about the individual who will receive it and how much they deserve it.
What do you think is the “best kept secret” about Kimball’s Country Stores?
Our stores are filled with “hidden gem” gift ideas. We often have things you don’t see at mainstream stores. You can truly find something unique for everyone in your life! At the holidays we go all out, and decorate the stores so they become really festive and cozy places to shop, meet with friends, have a coffee. Life is so fast-paced, but when you’re at one of our stores everything just seems to slow down a little. What’s better than that?
Tell us about some items people have been loving lately.
Kimball farm gear — like sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hats — are always a big hit. Toys and items from our kids section are also very popular, especially during the summer season when lots of families come into the store to browse around while visiting for ice cream and activities.
New for this year we have fun socks from Funatics with crazy sayings and pictures on them. People have been loving them! Another popular one is our “Decades” section, which is full of things like nostalgic toys and games and retro magnets and mugs. Oh and a HUGE seller this year has been stickers! The kind with random funny things that you can put on a car or a water bottle. We’ve been selling hundreds of them a week!
The Store has a great selection of locally-sourced items, including gourmet foods. Tell us about some of your local vendors.
Each year I attend the “New England Made Show,” which is a huge event where local New England vendors showcase their goods. We discovered one of our biggest food vendors, Maine Homestead, there. They are out of Lyman Maine and provide us with some really great jams, jellies, and pickled vegetables.
The majority of our Kimball Farm gear comes from Austin’s Inc. based in West Yarmouth, MA — another local company we met at the show and love doing business with!
The Westford Store & Cafe are open year-round. Who are the customers you tend to see in the winter, when ice cream and activities are closed for the season?
We have a lot of locals that frequent our Café in the early morning hours. A lot of our “regulars” are retirees, but we also get a lot of people who work in our community — teachers, police officers, doctors — stopping in for their morning coffee. We have a fair amount of groups that visit the Café regularly, like Bible Study groups, moms groups, even a group that meets up here after their yoga class. The environment is very homey and cozy which makes it a perfect place to meet up with friends for coffee or lunch or just to sit and chat.
What’s one of your favorite items?
I love the soaps from Australian Soapworks. There are a ton of fantastic scents (plus they look great in a display!).
What’s your favorite food to order at the Cafe?
I’m gluten free… so I love a gluten free bagel with some of our Maine Homestead jam on it!
Check out our Country Store & Cafe hours here, and don’t forget to say hi to Jess next time you’re at our Westford location!
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